McMinnville, Ore. — As of 2016 winegrapes were the ninth highest value and one of the fastest growing agricultural commodities in the state. With over 1,000 vineyards planted to more than 29,000 acres, the state produces nearly 90,000 tons of fruit that is made into numerous styles of wine at over 700 wineries. Nearly three million cases of Oregon wine were sold in 2016, with a direct retail value of nearly $600 million and indirect impacts estimated at more than $3 billion.

Oregon currently ranks third in number of wineries and fourth in production in the United States, with plenty potential for further growth. With this growth comes the need for educated and trained personnel in the vineyard, in the winery, and within the overall business of wine.

To address this need, Linfield College, which is ideally situated in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country, set out to become the first institution in the country to offer an undergraduate, interdisciplinary degree in wine studies; and to become a premier institution for wine education, both for traditional 4-year, undergraduate students, as well as wine industry members and adult learners.

The college is now home of the Grace & Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education, the intersection of traditional academic programming in wine studies and all other wine-related educational opportunities at the college.

Linfield offers a Minor and Major degree in Wine Studies that will prepare students to become future leaders in the wine industry through a unique, interdisciplinary academic approach that incorporates the history, geography, and environmental requirements to grow grapes, to the processes to make, bottle, and sell wine, to sensory evaluation techniques and communication about wine. Both the Minor and Major can be paired with a diverse selection of other majors and minors along with international exchanges and internships, to enforce the strong liberal arts tradition at Linfield and prepare students for dynamic careers in the global wine industry.

For Linfield student Tia Elder the program came along at the right time. Elder says that she “decided to go to Linfield because I liked the small school, amazing study abroad programs, small class sizes and great professors, but ultimately I decided on Linfield because of the Wine Studies program. Through the program I have already met so many influential people in the industry, it has also given me incredible opportunities such as traveling to Burgundy France, and helped me find internships and other wine-related volunteer opportunities.”

Linfield’s connection to the region’s wine industry has grown over time. From hosting the International Pinot Noir Celebration since 1987, to hosting other international conferences, workshops and seminars, holding a popular Wine Lecture Series, the College has become increasingly recognized as an engaged partner with the Oregon wine industry. Furthermore, Linfield students have also been engaged with the wine industry through a summer immersion program, internships and research and the development of the Wine Studies major and minor will only further these connections and opportunities for Linfield students.

The college is also the home to the Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA), which is located at the Nicholson Library on campus and digitally available at The OWHA is a one-of-a-kind archive project which is home to important documents, artifacts, interviews and many other historical digital and physical items. The archive chronicles a content-rich Oregon wine industry that is rooted in stories of passionate pioneers, and is the resource center for past and ongoing projects, including: undergraduate research, documentary films, academic writings, and much more.

It is through the established and evolving interdisciplinary, wine-related programing at Linfield that the Grace & Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education is increasingly meeting the needs of stakeholders in the wine industry and to be a leading institution for Wine Education globally.

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